Ramon Hernandez likes a challenge.
When he finished up with high school in Sunnyside, he wasn't content to stay at home. He decided to try college in Vancouver.
And then to Pullman, Mexico, and finally Richland, where he will he will be part of the largest graduating class in WSU Tri-Cities' history.
"I have also always enjoyed learning in general," Hernandez said. "The sense of wonder and curiosity have always been on my side fortunately."
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Hernandez is laid back about his accomplishment, but in several ways he beat the odds. His parents moved to the Yakima Valley from Mexico. Neither attended college. His older brother didn't either.
He part of a large contingent of students of the 407-person graduating class that never had a person in their family graduate from a four-year school.
The university branch campus estimates about 45 percent of the class counts as first-generation.
Hernandez and others graduating with him beat the odds. The federal Department of Education says first-generation students are less likely to enroll, and once they make it to college, they are less likely to stay.
But Hernandez's parents wanted a better life for their children.
His father, Moises Hernandez, is a maintenance worker at the Sunnyside School District. His mom, Maria Gutierrez, is a nurse's aide. They pushed their son to go to college.
After a short stint at Clark College in Vancouver, Hernandez found himself at WSU. While he discovered his love for psychology at the Pullman campus, his curiosity pushed him to continue looking in new areas.
So he decided to spend a year learning in Mexico, joining Butler University's study abroad program.
"One day I woke up and I was like, 'You know what. I want to travel,'" he said. "So that's exactly what I did. ... I was raised in the culture, but I was never in the culture."
Hernandez saw the hardships in his many homes, whether it was Sunnyside, Pullman, Richland or Merida. But he has only good things to say about them.
It's this combination of drive and enthusiasm that made him fit in as part of WSU Tri-Cities' social media ambassador, said Jeff Dennison, the director of marking and communications at the campus.
"I could always count on Ramon to have new ideas that students loved seeing," he said.
Hernandez isn't done with his travels yet. His next stop is Morocco — as part of the Peace Corps.
The agency offered Hernandez places in Spanish-speaking countries, but he chose a position in the North African nation where the primary languages are French and Arabic.
Hernandez said he signed up to help teach people, but he expects to learn just as much when he goes because he doesn't speak either language.
"I love exploring. I love learning new things. I love being in stimulating environments," he said. "When you're learning something every day, you never get bored."